Monday, April 19, 2010

Memoir Monday - Video Store Clerk

Today I will share the story of my first "real" job, a clerk at Video Source when I was in high school. What a fabulous job to have when you are a teenager. The hours are decent, great co-workers, lots of people rented movies in 1995-1998 AND you got to borrow all the movies for FREE including trailers. I was paid about $8 an hour and loved every minute of it. Video Source had one main location and two other locations. The smallest store just so happened to be in my super small town, so I offered to work there most of the time. This location barely had traffic, and it was a wonder it lasted as long as it did.

So, I'd get to the empty store and pop in whatever movie I wanted to watch - we were supposed to just watch G, PG or PG13 movies. Many times I'd also do my homework. I had friends come in and hang out with me and I'd even make out with guys. A lot of things went on there that should not have. I tripped the alert button a few times, well, once was me by accident while cleaning, once a guy thought it would be funny - I didn't think so.

The busier main store was usually fun to work at too after the boss left and on weekends. Teenagers had the run of the store (similar to Empire Records but with Videos and nothing illegal). At the end of the night as we'd be restocking the shelves, we had too much fun in the adult room. We had many contests who can return the adult tickets the fastest (not because the room spooked us -- but because we were so familiar with where the boxes were, who was in them, and which customers preferred what movies).

Once I had seniority, I was able to train the newbies. I took great pride that they would have the same type of worth ethic and personality as me. I would be in charge at closing and made sure their draw was accurate and let them leave early if it was a slow night. One night that will stay with me forever was the blizzard of 1997, I was there with two very new employees. It was snowing so hard and eventually no one came into the store after 7:30 and we stayed open until 10. The electricity went out a little after 8, and therefore the phone died as well. I took a few quarters from the drawer went outside and called the owner on the pay phone to tell her the situation with the heavy snow and no electricity and to ask permission to close early. NO WAY, that would be unacceptable. So I go back inside. We close out the two other drawers and just hang out watching the snow fall so hard. This is crazy - I told them we would leave anyway, it looked dangerous out. So I put up a sign saying we apologized that we closed early and locked up the store. We all left. Normally I lived about 10 minute drive, it took me almost an hour and a half to get home, and I was even pulled over by the police first time ever. The cop was asking why I was on the road since it was a natural emergency...HMM, that was news to me. I explain I was leaving work on my way home and it was taking a while since I had to keep pulling over to clear the snow off my headlights and window. He was so nice and told me he would follow me just in case. So we trudge through and then as I get close, the last 2 miles, he tells me can't go further, that it would be too unsafe for him, I was on my own. I finally get home and call my newbies, neither were home. I wait up until they called me back. One made it home soon after I did, the other apparently had down trees and road closures everywhere that it took him 3 hours to get home. I felt really bad and gave the owner an earful when she called the next afternoon telling me she wasn't going in because the weather was too bad. I do not drive in the snow anymore.

When I started college I was able to come back and work a day here or there. It was perfect I loved that job.

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